Abuja - Stakeholders in the arts and culture sector have urged the Federal Government to leverage on gains obtainable in the sector for income generation and employment creation.
The stakeholders made the call in separate interviews on Monday in Abuja.
Ephraim Nwokoye, a Sculptor, said oil could no longer sustain the nation economically, hence the need for diversification just like the government emphasized.
He said the arts and culture sector could come handy in income and employment generation for both government and the private sector to leverage on.
He added that “government should start focusing on non-oil export as veritable source of income as a result of dwindling prices of crude oil.Nigerian art works command high premium. It is on record that some artwork of famous Nigerian artists have sold for millions of Naira.A piece of art work of Yusuf Grillo sold for N11 million, Ben Enwonwu sold for N17.1 million Naira and a host of others.
Thomson Ukoh, a visual artist, said “policies that will resuscitate the potential in arts, culture and tourism should be formulated in a way that the sector will be taken to the desired level. Culture and tourism should not be an exclusive preserve of the Federal Government but states and the private sector should be carried along.’’
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He advised government to intensify efforts in stabilizing security because it was affecting efforts toward repositioning the sector.
He added that “tourists are afraid to go to some of the sites in the country.“The activities of the insurgents and the herdsmen attacks across the country will hamper steps by government to reposition the sector and make a mirage. Nigeria is so blessed with so many natural resources, so there is no reason for us to limit ourselves to only oil.”
Ubong Essien , an arts teacher, said that the government plan to use culture and tourism to revive the nation’s pride as giant of Africa was in the right direction.
She, however, stressed the need for cultural re-orientation and the introduction of subjects and courses on culture in the academic curricula of primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.
Essien used the Calabar Christmas carnival as an example of how culture and tourism could transform the economy of a nation or state.
She said that the annual festival which was held every December in Calabar could attract more than six million visitors and could generate billions of Naira for government.
She then appealed to government to ensure proper and regular maintenance of the nation’s monuments.